For Chris Greene, the fact that her name will go down in history as the name of a school is overwhelming.
“I was surprised at the nomination and the naming,” Greene said with unmistakable emotion in her voice. “Lots of times I wanted to be part of something, but putting my name on a building had never occurred to me. It was not something I aspired to.”
The Guilford County School Board recently selected Greene’s name for the new special needs school that will open in the fall on the campus of Ragsdale High School. It will serve students from ninth grade to age 22.
Another special needs school for students from kindergarten to eighth grade is also set to open this fall on the Hairston Middle and Falkener Elementary schools complex. The name under consideration for it would include a hyphenation of Sarah Walden Herbin and Jamestown’s own Dale J. Metz. The new facilities will take the place of McIver Education Center, which has served the needs of students with moderate to severe developmental delays and autism under that name since 1994.
For some, the most obvious names for the new schools might have been McIver East and McIver West education centers.
“I did not like those choices,” said Ragsdale Principal Dr. Kathy Rogers.
Evidently the Guilford County School Board agreed. From a long list of nominations, they chose to name the school at Ragsdale High School after Greene, a longtime educator who in addition to nine years as a classroom teacher in public education spent 20 years as a counselor at Ragsdale.
The new school will be known as the Christine J. Greene Education Center.
“I am thrilled with the name they selected for the new school on our campus,” Rogers said. “Chris has represented our region and area well.”
Greene says from the moment she first stepped into a school building as a student, school has been exciting to her.
“I was nurtured, my curiosity was stimulated and I was eager to learn,” she said. “I would hope that the students (in Greene Education Center) or any school would be nurtured by the teachers to have new dreams and visions, and to reach beyond what they thought was possible.
“They have to be caring adults. I had that as a student and when I became a teacher, I wanted learning to be exciting and interesting for the students.”
In addition to work in a classroom and as a high school counselor, Greene has a lifetime of commitment to the field of education. She served four years as executive director of Guilford Institute for Leadership Development, was appointed by Gov. James Hunt Jr. to the N.C. Standards Board of Public School Administrators, appointed by Gov. Mike Easley to the N.C. Board of Licensed Professional Counselors, served on the Board of Trustees at Mount Olive College, was on the Guilford College Board of Visitors, and was the national chair-elect for the American Association of State Counseling Boards. She was also appointed by Gov. Beverly Perdue to serve on the North Carolina Board of Education.
Greene continues to be an active member of the Jamestown and High Point communities. She is very involved with the Salvation Army and was named a life member of that board. She also has hands-on ties to Family Services. In education, she is still a supervisor of interns in counseling at North Carolina A&T University.
In the course of her various endeavors in education and the community, Greene has received numerous accolades. But her son, Chuck, calls this the greatest honor of her professional and personal career.
“We are pleased and honored that others recognize the passion and integrity Mom has had for so long,” Chuck said. “It is flattering that others see as well the things you know. The enduring quality of her name on a building will allow those in the future the opportunity to remember my mother.”
“I love my life and am so humbled by the opportunities I have had,” Greene said. “Dealing with kids is the greatest career in the world. I hope I have helped someone along the way. I just feel (like having my name on a school) is a dream – one wonderful dream. It is truly unbelievable.”
Perhaps, just perhaps, that dream will seem more like a reality when the name Christine J. Greene Education Center appears on the building. Greene relishes the idea of being personally involved in the school if asked.
“Only the Lord knows what is next in my life and I hope it will be good,” she said.
Greene and her husband Charlie live in High Point. They have three grown children Chuck, Margaret and John.
Name preserved in history